Air travel drops by half in 2020, officials optimistic for 2021 | KOLR

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Springfield-Branson National Airport said it wasn’t as heavily impacted as other airports by the COVID-19 pandemic and is hopeful for the future.

“We did better than most, and that’s not bragging, it’s just sort of a quirk of the market, a lot of airports were down about 60% while we were down about 50%,” said Kent Boyd, the airport spokesman.

According to Boyd, all signs point to a recovery as airlines add more seats to accomidate the expected increase in flyers during 2021. One study by the U.S. Travel Asociation found 63% of Americans said they desperately need a vacation.

Boyd said numbers might have been even lower if it wern’t for leisure travel.

“The concensus in the industry right now is that leisure travel will come back the strongest first, then business travel,” said Boyd. “The big question mark that everybody seems to have is how is buisness travel going to be affected overall. Everybody has discovered the magic of Zoom so is it more effective from a business point of view to do the zoom, or is it more effective to jump on a airplane and go meet face to face. As the pandemic subsides, that’s a question that airlines and businesses are going to have to figure out.”

Allegiant Airlines announced weekly flights from Springfield to Houston and United will be resuming flights to Houston starting in March.

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